Tiger Goes Tiger

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 25, 2008, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the GOLFCHANNEL.com editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
CRAZY GOOD: Tiger Woods jumped up early in Sunday's championship match of the WGC-Accenture Match Play event and never looked back, drubbing Stewart Cink, 8 and 7, in the finale. It was Woods' third Match Play title and 15th career WGC event title overall.
BackspinLet's just state the facts here and then you can re-read them over and over until it starts to sink in: Three starts in 2008 - three wins; Has won six of his last seven PGA TOUR starts; 63rd career TOUR win, moving him past Arnie, within one of Hogan and nine back of Jack; And this was his 15th WGC title, staggering when you consider that these are fields comprised of the best of the best. Perspective? The rest of the world has combined for 12 WGC event wins. Grand Slam in 2008? Crazy yes, but crazy good he is.

EARLY EXITS: Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson got the weekend off after early losses at the WGC-Match Play. Els, one of four No. 1 seeds, got hammered by Jonathan Byrd, 6 and 5, in his first round match up, while Mickelson fell, 2 and 1, at the hands of Stuart Appleby in the round of 32.
BackspinThe Big Easy probably regrets his late entry into this tournament; but all things considered the South African actually performed as expected when you take into account that he has lost in the first round of this event four out of seven times. Els will deserve all the criticism he gets. Mickelson, on the other hand, does not. Phil shot the second best round of the day, 7 under, in his match. The best round, naturally, was shot by Appleby. Still, Lefty needs to improve his lackluster match play performance, particularly with the Ryder Cup just around the corner.

THE WEEKLEY NEWS: Boo Weekley may have lost to Woody Austin in the third round this past week, but per usual he made news in and around the course in each of his matches, the best copy coming from his opening-round match with Martin Kaymer.
Backspin On the very first hole of his first WGC-Match Play event, Weekley learned one of the most basic lessons of the match play format - the ability to concede a putt to your opponent. Kaymer, Boo's Rd. 1 competitor, left a birdie putt a foot short on the opening hole and waited for Boo to give him the natural, 'That's good' comment. It didn't come. Boo was just being Boo and had no idea that there was a situation in golf where you could just pick up your ball without holing out. Said Weekley, weakly afterwards, I mean, after I told him, Hey, man, I didnt know the rule. He was OK with that. As are we, Boo.

HOT PINK!: Paula Creamer staged a remarkable, late round rally to edge Jeong Jang and Annika Sorenstam to win the Fields Open in Hawaii. Birdies on four of her last five holes - including a 5-footer on the event's final hole - vaulted Creamer into the winner's circle for the fifth time in her young LPGA career.
Backspin Wow, what a start for Carolyn Bivens and the LPGA Tour. First, Annika Sorenstam wins the lid-lifter last week in the Hawaiian Islands and then Creamer, who along with Annika is one of the tour's most marketable stars, wins the following week while still in paradise. Next up? World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa finally joins the fray with her season debut at the inaugural HSBC Women's Champions event in Singapore. Yes, these girls do indeed 'Rock!'

A WIE BIT RUSTY: Michelle Wie made her 2008 LPGA debut in her native Hawaii and fired an opening round 3-under 69 that put her into early contention. She followed it up with a 1-over 73 in Rd. 2 and then stumbled home with a 6-over 78 to finish a full 20 strokes behind winner Creamer.
BackspinHard to judge by just one tournament, and the fact that it was her first competitive round in about five months, but the now 18-year-old freshman at Stanford did at least make the cut - the first time since last year's Evian Masters in July. But the good vibe was quickly doused with that 78 which put her dead last amongst those who made the cut.

GAY AND MERRY IN MEXICO: Brian Gay used a flawless third-round 8-under 62 en route to his first-ever PGA TOUR victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico . Gay, a 10-year TOUR veteran cruised to the win over runner-up John Merrick in the TOUR's opposite field event of the WGC-Match Play.
BackspinAlthough it was a breakthrough win for Gay, the fans in Mexico were no doubt hoping for a win from their native son Esteban Toledo. Toledo, playing in his 282nd PGA TOUR event and still seeking his first victory, thrilled the locals with a great third round that included six birdies and an eagle to climb into contention. Despite chants of 'Mexican Tiger!' from his supporters, Toledo was unable to muster the goods on Sunday and finished 11th.

SKINS GAME:Fuzzy Zoeller and Peter Jacobsen overcame a huge Day 1 deficit to overtake Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson to win the Champions Tour Skins Game. The duo split a cool $320,000.
Backspin Not a bad gig if you can get it - play golf for a living, travel to places like Maui, Hawaii, and play alongside the likes of Nicklaus and Watson, Palmer, and Player. Jake summed it up nicely, 'These guys in this thing are Hall of Famers. These are legends.' And the money ain't bad either.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Greg Norman made a rare appearance on the PGA TOUR this week at Riviera Maya in Mexico, a course he designed; It was announced that Tiger Woods' PGA TOUR event would get an extra year at Congressional Country Club as it will again host the 2009 AT&T National.
Backspin It's always a treat to see Norman back out on the course playing golf, but his first hand knowledge of the layout in Mexico apparently didnt help the 52-year-old as he missed the cut; Tiger has said that he wants Congressional to be the permanent home for his tournament, but with 2011 U.S. Open coming to the famed Blue Course Woods will need to look elsewhere for 2010 as the USGA gets Congressional U.S. Open ready.

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - WGC-Match Play Championship
  • Full Coverage - Mayakoba Open
  • Full Coverage - Fields Open
  • Full Coverage - Champions Skins Game
  • More Headlines
  • Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

    Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

    Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

    SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

    Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey six on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

    ''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

    But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

    In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

    ''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

    Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

    The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

    ''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

    NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

    Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

    Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

    Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

    "He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

    The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

    Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

    "I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

    Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

    "From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

    "And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

    "There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."

    Move over Lydia, a new Ko is coming to LPGA

    By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 5:11 pm

    Another gifted young South Korean will be joining the LPGA ranks next year.

    Jin Young Ko, the Korean LPGA Tour star, informed the American-based LPGA on Sunday night that she will be taking up membership next year. Ko earned the right by winning the LPGA’s KEB Hana Bank Championship as a nonmember in South Korea in October.

    Ko, 22, no relation to Lydia Ko, first burst on to the international spotlight with her run into contention at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry two years ago. She led there through 54 holes, with Inbee Park overtaking her in the final round to win.

    With 10 KLPGA Tour titles, three in each of the last two seasons, Ko has risen to No. 19 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.

    Ko told GolfChannel.com Sunday afternoon that she was struggling over the decision, with a Monday deadline looming.

    “It’s a difficult decision to leave home,” Ko said after the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, when she was still undecided. “The travelling far away, on my own, the loneliness, that’s what is difficult.”

    Ko will be the favorite to win the LPGA’s Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award next year. South Koreans have won that award the last three years. Sung Hyun Park won it this year, In Gee Chun last year and Sei Young Kim in 2015. South Korean-born players have won the last four, with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko winning it in 2014. Ko was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6.

    Ko released this statement through the LPGA on Wednesday: 

    "It has been my dream since I was young to play on the LPGA Tour and I look forward to testing myself against the best players on a worldwide stage. I know it is going to be tough but making a first win as an LPGA member and winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year award would be two of the biggest goals I would like to achieve next year."